Thursday, 9 February 2012

Just desserts

Do people ever get the fate they deserve? I know I find it frustrating when I see someone, or perhaps a company, that I know to be either corrupt, contemptuous or just fundamentally devoid of talent making a success. I know I shouldn’t but I do. I have a primitive feeling that good people should do best and bad people should not. But life isn’t fair.

But there ARE examples of people getting what they deserve. For instance there’s a very well-known spicy chicken outlet at Game City, I’m sure you know the one. The one that doesn’t deep-fry everything. OK, it’s Nandos. They employed a waitress called Beverly who several people celebrated. She’s forever cheerful, energetic, happy to see customers and incredibly attentive. On the 1st December last year she was promoted and is now a manager there. She’s still exactly the same person, she’s walking around the branch, checking that people are being served and fixing things before they become problems but now she’s in charge and it’s her job to ensure that everyone else works as well as she does. Beverly got exactly what she deserved. She’s one of those people you know will go far.

Some years ago at the same shopping center there was a waitress called Candy who worked at Milky Lane. Candy was another of those people who seem to be so full of joy and happiness at work. No matter how stressful work was, she was the one always smiling and laughing with customers. She was the one who made going there even more fun than just a tub of ice-cream. Candy eventually left to study hotel management in the UK and I’m sure one day you’ll find her running a major hotel somewhere in the world and making herself lots of money. She too got what she deserved.

Several years ago we celebrated a young guy (see, they’re not all women, just most of them) called Otsile who worked at KFC. We even gave him a prize at a party we hosted to publicly acknowledge our service stars. As he walked off the stage having been celebrated by our former President he was accosted by a senior manager from a major bank. Next week, he was told, you work for us. His pay increased dramatically and his new job was to run around that bank cheering up customers, making sure they were being welcomed and dealt with properly. His hard work as a waiter got him the job of his dreams.

One of my colleagues told me about a similar case from Swaziland. She’d found a real star working in a local bank who also had that special glow about her. She was the one always smiling, welcoming customers and making them feel good about even the most boring of banking tasks. She was the one who said she wanted to learn more about service, who had a genuine drive to succeed. She was the one who was almost immediately promoted to be a branch administrator, just one step away from being a branch manager.

It’s not just in the private sector that driven and committed people can progress. I can think of two people in particular that I’ve known for many years, who have risen through the ranks of the public service and who are both now at very, very senior levels. These are the people who might just transform the public service into an organization that cares.

All of these people have made progress the old-fashioned way. They studied hard, worked hard and focused on impressing their colleagues, their bosses and, above all, their customers. They got their just desserts.

It’s not just the good guys that get what they deserve. Occasionally the bad guys get what they deserve as well. The crooks and naïve involved in running pyramid schemes like TVI Express will eventually see the error of their ways. All pyramid schemes eventually fail. The tragedy is that more often than not the founders, the crooks, have long gone with all the cash and it’s just the naïve left to pick up the pieces.

The problem with crooks is that they’re like cockroaches or ticks. No matter how many times you hit them they always seem to be able to crawl under a rock and appear somewhere else later. It delights me when I find out that a particular crook has gone out of business but I know he’ll be back again soon using a different name but still up to his old tricks.

A couple of years ago we did our best to expose a fake university calling itself the “University of SouthCentral Los Angeles”. Of course no such university actually exists, it was all a scam to sell fake qualifications. They’ve now disappeared but you can bet that whoever was behind it is now doing the same thing with another fake university web site, stealing money from the naïve and lazy.

We also covered a fake financial services company calling itself “First Morgan Capital” which did its best to steal people’s money. They also have gone offline but again I’m sure that the crooks are still out there plotting a new scam.

One day soon perhaps we’ll see this happening locally. Maybe the day isn’t far off when loan sharks, stores that sell on credit and the dodgy investment companies will genuinely be in fear of their livelihood as a result of real regulators who aren’t afraid to get their hands a bit dirty. We can hope. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see some crooks getting exactly what they deserve?

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